Even if you’re the most experienced driver it’s a nightmare when your car breaks down. Now when you get a flat tire or your car suddenly rattles, stops, or smokes; what do you do? Well first, don’t be that person who freezes in panic or starts to curse everyone and everything in your path. I know it can be quite stressful especially when you’re rushing to get to a business meeting or when you just want to get to your hotel and start your holiday, but hiccups like these don’t necessarily mean game over. With proper preparation and a little know-how, you’ll be out of this situation in as quickly and painless as possible.
A Fully Charged Phone Is Your Bestfriend
In these types of situations, your first course of action should always be to call whoever you need to call. If you’re headed to a meeting, call the person you’re meeting with and explain the situation if you’re worried about being late. If you’re headed to a hotel, call them and chances are, they might just send someone to pick you up if they have the capacity to or at least they’ll know that you’re still coming and won’t give your room away. But the most importantly, call roadside assistance or your car hire company. Although there might be a few good samaritans who will help you with things like a flat or jump starting your engine, it’s always better (and often faster) to get help from proper authorities.
Alert Oncoming Traffic
Put your emergency blinkers on during daytime to let oncoming vehicles know that your car has stopped. If it’s nighttime, turn on your interior lights if you don’t have reflective markers or warning lights. If you do have them, place them six feet from your car so that people know that you’re car is stopped there and don’t end up hitting your car’s rear. Alerting oncoming traffic is one way for you to protect yourself as well as other people on the road. Failing to do so draws the line between a slight hiccup in your day to a full blown flurry of chaos.
The moment that you realise that your car is having trouble, whether it’s a flat tire or engine problems, (if you can) pull up at the shoulder of the road without any curves or sharp turns behind you. This gives upcoming vehicles ample space and time to notice that your vehicle has stopped. Never ever try to fix a flat or on your engine from the side of the road where traffic passes.
If you find yourself stuck with car troubles on a remote location or dessert, do not leave your vehicle. It’ll give you ample shelter and it’ll be easier for rescuers to find a stopped vehicle than a person on the move. In this case, make your car as visible as possible with a makeshift sign or a brightly coloured shirt or cloth secured on your window or hung on your antenna.
If your car is caught in a flash flood or a bushfire, first call for assistance. Do not attempt to drive through flood or dense smoke. In case of a bushfire, drive as far away from it as possible, keep your headlights on, close your windows and all air ducts, and crouch down to shelter your body. In case of a flood, if you can, get out of the vehicle and move to higher ground. If you’re caught in the flood, don’t swim against the current.
Remember that your safety should always be your top priority and that your life is worth more than your car or your belongings. So if you’re ever caught in a situation when your car breaks down: stay calm, call for help, and stay safe!